Yay! It's time for the weekly Top Ten Tuesday meme hosted by The Broke and The Bookish. The topic for this week is the Top Ten Jerks in Literature, so basically this is the second in a two-part series where I get to continue venting my real dislike for fictional characters who are fake in more ways than one. (See part one here.) Only this time, I get to go after then men. Excellent.
So here, in no particular order, I give you ten guys whom I'm just not that into:
1. Dex - Okay we're starting here for two reasons. First, I just saw Something Borrowed this weekend, so it's kind of top-of-mind, and second, because Dex represents the kind of jerk that I think often gets overlooked in lists like this. Why? Because he's a great guy. He's smart, good looking, sweet, and best of all, he's not afraid to tell you how he feels. Sounds perfect, right? Well, yes. Except for that teeny, tiny part about him stringing one girl along just because he's too afraid to leave the one he's with. Yes, Rachel is a better fit. Yes, she'll make him happy. Yes, he's loved her for "forever". But break off his wedding to Darcy? Absolutely not. I don't care if he's confused. He's still stupid. Haven't we all been that girl at one time or another? Manufacturing excuses to make it okay that we're being treated badly? Come on girls, it's gotta stop. Being a nice guy and a jerk is mutually exclusive, so let's all tell it like it is and keep our eyes peeled for jerks in nice guy clothing. *End rant*
2. Willoughby - Okay, so he represents what I like to call the Irish Twin of the Dexes of the literary world. They may be confused and stupid, but the Willoughbys of the world knowingly portray the good guy solely for their own gain. The whole world may think they're the greatest thing since sliced bread, but there's no confusion here. They aren't. Whether they're just bored or there are darker purposes at work, they just play the part until they're done playing the girl. Yes, maybe Willoughby really did fall for Marianne in the end, but he still took the easy way out by marrying the heiress. Who wins that one? Well yes, Marianne does end up with the better man, but Willoughby doesn't end up with too shabby a life either.
3. Captain Hook - Captain Hook? What's he doing here? Well, I'll tell you. Captain Hook represents a somewhat sanitized but nevertheless totally obvious type of jerk: the jerk who finds satisfaction in picking on people smaller than he is. I mean, fun and games aside, it's just not cool that Hook spends his time kidnapping little girls and trying to kill little boys.
4. Mr. Rochester - I know, I know. We love Mr. Rochester. But even he isn't immune to jerky behavior. Even after close to a dozen readings, the way he throws Blanche Ingram into Jane's face still makes me fume.
5. Markham V. Reynolds - I promise one day that all the same books won't show up on every Top Ten list I create, but I think one of the reasons these books come to mind so easily is because of the fantastic characters they contain. Even if they are fantastically jerky like Mr. Reynolds. Rich, dashing, impressed by a working woman's career (gasp), Reynolds is another guy that seems to paint a rosy picture. However, the truth is that beneath that sheen of acceptance and support is a man who thinks he owns the world. He doesn't really care about Juliet's work, or what she wants. His plans supersede everything and he has the gall to be genuinely surprised when Juliet refuses to go along with them. I personally find any man that has an expectation of complete subservience to be completely unpalatable; I don't care how divinely he dances.
6. Snape - So yes, Harry Potter makes another appearance. But I'm mixing it up by not listing the more obvious choice of Draco. Snape makes a fascinating addition to this list as he is both mistakenly believed to be a jerk, and is also in fact a jerk. Snape gets a bad rap for his previous allegiance to Voldemort, so he's constantly accused of being behind whatever the latest mischief is, but even though he's not gunning for Harry's death, his jerky behavior toward him is genuine. He really kind of hates Harry, and lets it get to him. So despite being a wizard, Snape is actually quite human (:
7. Arthur Dimmesdale - Dimmesdale only goes to show that jerkiness knows no color, social status, or profession. Even a devout man of the cloth is not immune and Dimmesdale represents one of the lowest kind of jerks. The jerk who is aware he has acted badly, but lets his cowardice interfere with accepting punishment and making things right. Dimmesdale lets Hester suffer for years over something for which he was equally to blame. There's only one thing to say: Jerk.
8. All the men in Tess of the d'Urbervilles - Okay, okay, so maybe not all the men. But Tess definitely has to put up with her fair share. First there's her alcoholic father who somehow manages to put on airs despite his constant state of intoxication, then there's the obvious example of Alec, the stereotypical libertine and pursuer of his own pleasure. But the man who really gets my blood boiling is Angel Clare. Yes, yes, we're all know what's in a name and that a rose smells just as good when you call it a total jerk, but his name is Angel for crying out loud. Angel gets to know Tess, falls in love with her, and then faced with the inevitable discovery that nobody is perfect, throws her out into the cold, dark world. Alone. Oh, the hypocrisy, the stupid pride, the utter jerkiness of it all. Sure he comes to his senses eventually, but it doesn't do anybody one bit of good and that's a couple hours of the most depressing reading ever I'll never get back.
9. Dexter Mayhew - Dexter exemplifies the guy who has a heart of gold, but just can't seem to get it together. He's lucky Emma knows and loves him well enough to see past his hot mess. Actually, lucky is an understatement. The omniscient view the reader has into all of Dexter's actions reveals just how many chances he blew before finally making the best decision of his life. And though we cheer for his eventual success, we can't help but shake our heads at his jerky habits that led to many, many missed opportunities and unnecessary delays of his happiness. (I still think that unsent letter from India is one of the biggest literary tragedies ever :)
10. Iago - What can I say? I hate parrots. Or, more accurately, I hate jerky men who revel in ruining the lives of everyone around them for no other reason than petty envy AND I hate the obnoxious parrots that are named after them.